by Ian Marshall, Editor
In early March in Nairobi, she won the Africa Top 16 tournament, she won for the third time, having succeeded in 2014 in Lagos and 2016 in Khartoum; in fact she is the only player ever to win the title!
Success meant that she qualified for the Uncle Pop 2018 Women’s World Cup in Chengdu, notably for the sixth time, the fifth in succession; her debut being as a 17 year old in 2011 in Singapore.
Equally, in late June in Tarragona she won the Women’s Singles title at the Mediterranean Games. Notably she beat Monaco’s Yang Xiaoxin in the final, the winner on the ITTF World Tour in 2014 in Zagreb and 2016 in Olomouc. Furthermore, Yang Xiaoxin possesses a style which Dina Meshref rarely encounters; an attacking player, she uses long pimpled rubber on the backhand. I would suggest that was the best performance of the year from Dina Meshref.
Success in Nairobi and Tarragona; in early August in Cairo, she joined forces with Farah Abdel-Aziz, Reem El-Eraky and Yousra Helmy to secure Women’s Team gold at the Arab Championships; also she securied the Women’s Singles title.
Most impressive performances, it was the same the following month in Mauritius at the African Senior Championships; no changes to the line-up, the Women’s Team title was clinched, in addition Dina Meshref partnered colleague Ahmed Ali Saleh to Mixed Doubles gold, prior to regaining the Women’s Singles title she has won previously in 2015 in Cairo. The only crown to prove elusive in Mauritius was the Women’s Doubles; joining forces with Yousra Helmy, the duo experienced a full distance seven games defeat in the final at the hands of Farah Abdel-Aziz and Reem El-Eraky.
However, the Women’s Singles victory moved Dina Meshref just one win behind the most successful of all at an African Senior Championships. Representing Ghana, Ethel Jacks won in 1964 in Accra and in 1968 in Lagos before, in the colours of Nigeria, succeeding in 1974 in Alexandria. Later, on duty for her native Nigeria Olufunke Oshonaike prevailed in 1992 in Lagos, 2002 in Bizerte and in 2016 when she beat Dina Meshref in the final in Agadir.
A quite remarkable year for Dina Meshref who, in addition, was the spearhead for Egypt at the ITTF Team World Cup in London and the Liebherr 2018 World Team Championships in Halmstad.
Just one thought did Dina Meshref miss out on one title? Could she have sneaked her way into the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast in April an added another title to her credit?
She was born in Canada!